While fellow big summer signings Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly have all walked into Jose Mourinho’s new look Manchester United side, £30m purchase Henrikh Mkhitaryan has had to make do with three substitute appearances so far this season.
Jose may have reasons for doing this. It could be that he wants the Armenian international to settle into the English Premier League by watching on and seeing the intensity from the bench. The team have started off reasonably well and maybe he feels it’s better for team morale to reward those that have started off well by allowing them to keep their place.
The actual reasoning behind the move doesn’t really matter. What matters is that he now gets a starting place.
On Saturday night as United struggled to secure a last minute victory of Hull City, it became very clear that Mkhitaryan was a star-turn when he came on in the second half.
The twenty-seven year old always looked to get on the ball and when he found it at his feet he’d usually find a key pass or glide past an opponent or two!
His ability to always find space was majestic and it can be the difference between a good player and a great player. His energy on and off the ball shows that he’s itching to play football and has an appetite to create things for his side.
At the moment you still get the sense that Mourinho doesn’t know what his best frontline is.
Zlatan is clearly the main man and will be the centre forward.
Youngster Anthony Martial is still finding his feet on the left-wing and I get the feeling Juan Mata is still out of position on the right-handside and would prefer to play in the number ten role.
The current number ten is captain Wayne Rooney. You cannot deny that Rooney is a talented player but he still does too much running/tackling/moaning in the wrong areas. Against Hull he would pop up in the defensive midfield positions, out on the wings and then as a full-back. For me, he needs to concentrate on Zlatan and making sure the Swede isn’t left isolated up-top.
I think Henrikh Mkhitaryan would be ideally suited on the right-side and that would see Mata drop out, unless Jose has the balls to leave Rooney out of his startling line-up. To be honest I could make a case for keeping either player in the side but I can’t have both in ahead of Henrikh.
Last term at Borussia Dortmund, Mkhitaryan scored eleven Bundesliga goals and created fifteen assists. United fans know the worth of a creative playmaker and have been calling for a player with Henrikh’s abilities for a long time now.
The next fixture sees Man United taking on neighbours and probable title rivals Manchester City.
City are also flying under a new manager.
Once again Jose will take on Pep Guardiola and the media will love to highlight that. Both sides are coming into the derby with three league wins out of three and desperate to get one over their rivals.
That type of game could be suited for Mourinho to give Mkhitaryan his first start. The team will need players who are composed, who can find space and who can be deadly with passes or goals in the final third and the Armenian ticks all the boxes.
Surely the time is now right for Jose Mourinho to unleash his maestro Henrikh Mkhitaryan and watch him dictate things in the Premier League!